Drink This Beverage for a Better Brain

Can't decide whether to order wine with dinner? Here's a little tidbit to help you make up your mind: Deciding "yes" might protect you from dementia down the road.
A review of the findingsas suggests older adults who indulge in a daily glass (one if you're a woman, two if you're a man) of their favorite alcoholic beverage (wine, beer, or cocktails) are significantly less likely to develop age-related cognitive decline or dementia compared to folks who don't drink at all.

Booze for the Brain
How does imbibing do this? Researchers think the daily habit may protect against inflammation-inducing proteins in the brain, including B-amyloid -- a toxic protein linked to Alzheimer's disease. Other findings suggest that moderate drinking can boost cerebral blood flow by dilating vessels in the brain. One part of alcohol's brain-protective equation: It's thought that moderate social drinking may have a cumulative effect over many years in reducing the long-term risk of age-related cognitive decline. (Related: Have your eyes checked to stave off Alzheimer's disease.)

Think It Through
A word of caution: Some people are more prone to alcoholism than others, so if the disease runs in your family, or you've had a spot or two of binge drinking in the past, consider adopting alternative strategies to keep your noggin' humming along. A light drinking habit that turns into a heavy one can damage, rather than protect, your brain.


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